Saturday, 27 November 2010

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The Mighty Ginger/Ingefær/姜[jiāng]


For babies from 6 or 8 months. I started J from 7.5 months.

If there is only one single spice that I would choose to introduce to J, it would be the Mighty Ginger due to its medicinal goodness. Ginger should not be used as a main food, but a good accompaniment as a dash of spice to food such as fish (please refer to the recipe on steaming cod fish for usage of ginger), chicken and pork, and even fruit smoothies!

Nutritional Value:
Ginger is both a spice as well as a herb that boasts of a number of medicinal properties. It contains lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, Calcium, Fietary Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Protein, riboflavin, Selenium, phosphorous, Vitamin C, E and B6, and trace nutrients. It is also an antioxidant. The nutrients present inside ginger, especially its volatile oils - gingerols and shogaols, accord a number of health benefits to its users. The Chinese believe that ginger stimulates gastric juices, provides warming and soothing effects for colds and coughs, relieves nausea, expels wind in the stomach, protects the body against bad bacteria and prevents and fights against cancer.

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Additional Comments:
Ginger is a major ingredient in Chinese cooking, while it is popular for Danes to add a dash of ginger in their fruit smoothies for a spicy refreshing taste. Although I am a born Chinese, ironically I hated it as a kid and also as an adult, as my mother did not start me young as a baby.... I only found my love for ginger after I came to Denmark, as I began to be homesick and missing food from home. Many Danes, though did not grow up with ginger, surprising are very fond of ginger. Daddy loves it. An early introduction to J hopefully will cultivate his taste for ginger, so that he does not end up like mommy when she was a kid. Using spices and herbs such as ginger is a good way to offer interesting flavors to babies without having to use sugar or salt. Early introduction may help to raise a child that is not reliant on salt or sugar to entice the appetite. (Ginger can also be boiled, with its stock added with honey to relieve nasty coughs for kids and adults, but not for babies!)

Ginger is believed to originate in China and later, spread to India, Southeast Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean. Ginger was one of the first Asian spices carried to the Western world by camel caravans. The herb arrived in England during the Middle Ages by way of explorers and trade. One pound was considered equal in value to that of one sheep, making it affordable only to upperclass English society. Queen Elizabeth I of England is credited with the invention of the gingerbread man, which became a popular Christmas treat. Ginger is quite popular in the Caribbean Islands, where it grows wild in lush tropical settings.


References:

http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/can-babies-eat-spicy-food.html

http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/babyfoodexotics.htm

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